South America


Argentina

There are many stories about the origin of the Argentine cockade. It's possible it was inherited from the royal house of Bourbon, which has the same color scheme.

When the country revolted against Spanish rule in the early 1800s, a definitive cockade was required to distinguish freedom fighters from Spanish royalists who wore the red cockade. Eventually the Argentine cockade was standardized as light blue, white, light blue, and codified into law in 1812.

In 1935, May 18 was established as National Cockade Day, in honor of the ladies of Buenos Aires who first wore the cockade during the 1810 May Revolution.


Bolivia

The Bolivian Republic was proclaimed on August 6, 1825 after 16 years of war. The General Assembly declared [loose translation]:

The cockade that the citizens of the Republic will carry will be bicolor, like their flags, that is red between green and a star of gold color in the center. - General Assembly of the Bolivar Republic, Decree, August 17, 1825 

The cockade underwent a number of design changes over the years, always keeping the same color scheme of red, yellow and green. The Supreme Decree of 1888 during the government of President Gregorio Pacheco stated that red represents the blood shed by heroes for the birth and preservation of the Republic, yellow represents wealth and resources, and green represents the wealth of nature and hope as a principles of Bolivian society.

Supreme Decree 241, Section 5 establishes the modern form of the cockade [loose translation]:

Article 35: (Description) It is a ribbon folded in a circle with the colors of the Tricolor Flag, arranged as follows: red on the outer edge, yellow on the central band and green on the inside; may be superimposed on a loop of the same tape, in the form of an inverted "V."

Article 36: (Symbolism) The colors of the cockade have the same symbolism of the Tricolor Flag.

Article 37: (General use) The cockade can be used to denote patriotic pride, as a personal symbol, placed on his chest in parades, civic celebrations and patriotic commemorations. The cockade can also be seen in institutional banners and standards, with the purpose of decoration.


Brazil

Brazil’s national cockade draws from its Portuguese history. On September 7, 1822, the country declared its independence from Portugal and became Empire of Brazil. The traditional symbol and crest of the House of Braganza is a green dragon, representing Saint George, patron saint of Portugal. Pedro I, of the House of Braganza, was Brazil’s first emperor. His wife, Maria Leopoldina, brought the color gold from the House of Habsburg. Thus, green and gold became the national colors.

A military coup in 1889 established the First Brazilian Republic. In order to keep a feeling of stability to the new regime, the old colors and flag were kept with slight modifications, including the addition of the color blue. So modern Brazilian cockades are green, yellow and blue.


Chile

During Chile's period of colonization by Spain in the 1600-1700s, the red Spanish cockade was the national emblem. In 1808, Napoleon installed his brother as the king of Spain, which eventually brought about a freedom movement in Chile. The nation was proclaimed an autonomous republic under Spain's protection in 1810. In 1812, a new tricolor cockade was created of white, blue and yellow. As a struggle for power continued for the next five years, the cockade went back and forth from the Spanish red to the Chilean tricolor.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817 when Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín, hero of the Argentine War of Independence, led an army that crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists once and for all. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic.

At this point a new tricolor cockade was created of red, white and blue. In the early 20th century, a star was added in the blue center of the cockade to match the national flag.

Peru

July 28 is Peru's Independence Day in commemoration of José de San Martín's Declaration of Independence in 1821. The first flag of the Republic of Peru was officially created by General José de San Martín,on October 21, 1820. It's main colors were red and white.

Opinions vary on the symbolism of the colors. Some say San Martín took the red from the flag of Chile and the white from the flag of Argentina, recognizing the heritage of the men of the liberation army. Others believe San Martín reached into Peru's European heritage, bringing red and white from Castile and Burgundy, and red from Spain. Red was also in the royal symbol of the Inca kings.

Simón Bolivar's administration officially decreed a version of the flag from which the modern design is taken, and also established the national cockade on February 25, 1825. The fifth article of the Decree Issued by Simón Bolívar, and endorsed by his minister Hipólito Unánue on February 25, 1825, states the following: "The cockade shall be white and red, interpolated."